Indie Book Award
Silver Readers' Favorite International Book Award
Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award
Hollywood Book Festival Award
Book Excellence Award
Dreama Denver, wife of late TV icon and Gilligan’s Island star Bob Denver shares for the first time an original story inspired by Bob and their son Colin, who suffers from autism. With their shared theater backgrounds, Bob and Dreama would read stories to him every evening, using their acting backgrounds to reach through to Colin and bring the book’s characters to life. Now, Dreama’s Four Bears In A Box gives you the chance to touch the lives of the little ones in your life and take them on a magical journey of imagination and pure joy!
“I cherished being on our three hour tour with my fellow castaway Bob Denver on Gilligan’s Island, and I really love the way his wife Dreama Denver has brought Bob’s children’s book idea to life! Four Bears In A Box is a treat for all the ‘little buddies’ that you hold dear. I love you, Dreama!”--Dawn Wells, Mary Ann from the TV classic "Gilligan’s Island"
“Dreama's 'Bears' tell their story in a lyrical rhyme capturing the fun, love, and spirit that Bob envisioned. Four Bears in a Box is a children's book to be treasured for generations.”--Dwayne Hickman, star of TV classic “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis”
“What a delight to read Dreama Denver’s charming story of four cute cubs as they try to find something to do on a long day. The rhythm and rhymes tell the delightful tale along with Disneyesque illustrations to enchant young readers and their parents. Sparked by her husband Bob the book holds a special Significance and is a joy for all!” --Kathy Garver, star of TV classic “Family Affair”
"A wonderful story filled with joy and surprises, both your child and the one who lives inside you will love this funny, sweet tale. I was smiling after I read it. -- Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys
“We are happy to award deserving books like Four Bears in a Box,” said Dawn Matheson, CEO, Mom’s Choice Awards. “Our panel of judges really felt the book merited a place on our list of the best in family-friendly products that parents and educators can feel confident in using.”
Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers’ Favorite –
Beyond the interesting celebrity connection, there is a fascinating backstory to Four Bears in a Box, written by Dreama Denver and illustrated by Ashley Belote. Although not necessary for appreciating the highly polished rhyming scheme and exquisitely created art partnered to tell a most imaginative and heart-warming story, learning that the tale itself was developed by a mother seeking in-depth communication with her autistic son, however, does further deepen such appreciation. Any person with even a tangential experience of familial autism will immediately feel the comforting embrace of a book dedicated to: “… those of you who get lost in the beauty of imagination.” Should I mention this is a children’s book? No, I do not believe that’s necessary.
Four Bears in a Box begins, intriguingly enough, with three bored little bears wanting something new and adventurous to do. I am sure the target of this story must have raised his hand forthwith and authoritatively declared, “But, there’s only 3 bears!” And just like that, any child – or more-than-clever adult – would instantly be hooked on this book. Dreama Denver and Ashley Belote are (the pun cannot be avoided) a Dream Team. Ms. Denver’s perfectly-chosen words not only compel attention and inspire the imagination, but Ms. Belote’s detailed artwork heightens and expands both into a wonderfully embracing experiment of unlimited, uncontrollable fun. In a box. In the garage. Who knew? Apparently, Dreama Denver … and her son. Finally, in the interest of full disclosure: Yes, there is a fourth bear. But then, that just had to be the case, right?
Joshua Soule for Readers’ Favorite –
Four Bears in a Box is a beautifully written children’s book by author Dreama Denver. Three little bears are having a problem quite common in children; they’re bored! The three bears have done everything they could think of for fun, and now they have run out of ideas, so they go to their mother for help. Mother knows just what to do, and gives the bears some chores that need doing with the promise of having a friend over afterward as a reward. The little bears do their best with the chores, sometimes with silly consequences, and earn their promised reward. Once Dee, their best friend, shows up, the bears explore the garage where they find a cardboard box. The box becomes a place of adventure and imagination for these four bears, and their creativity takes them far away from their boredom. “A fast train! A castle! A brown cardboard box can be anything!!”
This is a wonderful children’s book that I recommend to all children, even my own. Dreama Denver has created a silly adventure that highlights the importance and the power of imagination. Four Bears in a Box made me smile as I read it. The text is written in a rhyme pattern that makes it fun to read and sets an energetic rhythm. The illustrations, done by Ashley Belote, are pleasing to look at and make the story come to life. Denver has created a children’s masterpiece and the secret to unlocking one’s imagination in Four Bears in a Box. It was a pleasure to read.
Asher Syed for Readers’ Favorite –
Four Bears in a Box by Dreama Denver, with illustrations by Ashley Belote, is a children’s book that promotes creativity and imagination to its young readers. The story initially revolves around three sibling bears, Clyde, Sadie, and Boo, as they battle boredom at home. When they go to their mother, she tells them they can have a friend sleep over if they tidy up and finish their chores, which they promptly, and quite happily, do together. Their friend Dee arrives just as their mother lets them know she has another surprise for all four little bears: a giant cardboard box they can do anything they’d like with. From here, the bears go on a host of adventures of their own imaginative making, such as rock climbing and a journey through space.
Dreama Denver delivers a constructive message in an entertaining manner with Four Bears in a Box. The narrative is rhythmic and fun, something both children and adults will find engaging. The illustrations are absolutely exceptional and Ashley Belote brings the story to life as she depicts all the bears, their home, and their adventure with colorful and rich detail, using an earthy palette and expert artistry. After reading each page, my daughter took a moment to slide her fingers across and outline the images she loved most. One thing she was too young to notice but was not lost on me was a cameo appearance of Gilligan as the bears imagine themselves floating in a hot air balloon over a deserted island, a nod to Dreama Denver’s late husband, actor Bob Denver. In a day and age where electronic devices seem to rule the playtime our children have, it’s refreshing to read a story where nothing more is required for a grand adventure than a giant cardboard box.
MAMTA MADHAVAN FOR READERS’ FAVORITE –
In Four Bears In A Box by Dreama Denver, three little bears – Clyde, Sadie, and Boo – had nothing to do. They had finished riding their bicycles, eaten their lunch, and played in the yard. Boo had a plan. He thought they should ask their Mom for ideas on what to do. The three of them raced to the kitchen to find Mom, who said she would bake their favorite dishes if they cleaned the house. Clyde cleaned up the den and Sadie washed and dried all the dishes. She then fed the cat, the dog, and the fish. Boo wanted to help too and, since he was the smallest, Clyde taught him how to stand on the ladder. After a while, Mom thought it was time for them to have a reward and had them close their eyes and follow her to the garage for a special surprise.
Four Bears In A Box by Dreama Denver is a wonderful story filled with fun, adventure, and imagination. It gives children ideas on what to do on a long day and will help them realize how much fun can be found in all sorts of things and how make-believe can bring magic into their lives. Ashley Belote breathes life into the characters and the scenes with adorable illustrations that are bright, colorful, and lively. It is exciting to see how the cardboard box gives them thrills and entertainment. The rhyming verses give the story a good pace and movement and rhythm. It is a good book for tutors and parents to read to youngsters for ideas on how to transform a long, boring day into one of fun and games.
K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite –
Four Bears In A Box is a work of action and adventure fiction written for children by author Dreama Denver and illustrated throughout by artist Ashley Belote. The picture book was created based on stories that Dreama and her husband (TV legend Bob Denver) had told to their young son, who was on the autism spectrum. The premise begins with three young bears who are bored and looking for adventure until they find a box that sparks their imaginations. So begins an incredible journey through fun and frolic, with an important message about the use of imagination and active play.
The work that has been put into this delightful picture book ensures that it is gorgeous from beginning to end, and it’s sure to delight both independent readers and those younger ones who need a parent or guardian to read along with them. To begin with, Ashley Belote’s cartoonish yet deep illustrations give a high level of professionalism as soon as you open the book, introducing us to the characters in a friendly and engaging style. Then, author Dreama Denver begins to weave her magic, and the tone of the narrative style truly feels like a mother reading to her children. There are light and shade in the language usage and a beautifully traditional rhyme scheme which makes it easy to pick up and remember the story. The plot flows with plenty of thrills and spills packed into a short number of pages, making Four Bears In A Box a thoroughly engaging and high quality read for all children.
Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite –
Four Bears in a Box is an animal adventure storybook for children written by Dreama Denver and illustrated by Ashley Belote. Clyde, Sadie and their little brother, Boo, were having the dullest of afternoons. The three bear siblings simply couldn’t figure out what to do with themselves. The usual toys, games, even swimming promised no excitement or even interest for them. So they just sat around acting very stodgy and feeling bored with life. Then they wondered if Mom might have a suggestion for them. As they entered the kitchen, the enticing aroma of freshly baked cookies instantly raised their spirits. Then Mom promised a treat and a surprise. What was it? What could they do to get ready for it?
Dreama Denver’s Four Bears in a Box is a cheerful and inspiring story about three bored bear siblings whose long afternoon is abruptly transformed into something magical and exciting. Children and caregivers alike will enjoy seeing those grumpy, tired bears spring into action as they get ready for their promised treat. Ashley Belote’s illustrations do a grand job of making Denver’s charming story come to life. I especially loved the panels showing the bears in the library, tumbling around shelves laden with books. Readers who remember watching Gilligan’s Island will get a charge out of following the bears as they travel by balloon over the Pacific where a castaway just happens to be watching out for them. Four Bears in a Box is imaginative and filled with heart; it’s most highly recommended.
Christine Distelhorst –
One of the best children’s books I have read! Everytime our neighbor’s little girl comes over, I have to read this book to her. It is so well written and the pictures brighten up each page. This story is so cheerful as you read about how 4 little bears use their imagination and have the best time of their lives! Dreama has put in a book, her husband’s dream and through this book, his memory will always be!
Brenda B. Woody –
Well, it has taken me longer than I had planned to review this book “Four Bears in a Box.” As I sat down to write my opinion, I started thinking that I had waited way too long to do it justice with my book review. What else could I possibly say that has not already been said by so many others and so eloquently at that? I have shared the many posts that I have read on Facebook – each one a superb review. I was beginning to wonder if there was anything else at all that I could possibly offer because everything I have read has been nothing short of praise for this children’s book written by my friend Dreama Denver.
First, I began thinking about the book itself becoming a reality for Dreama. What a joy it was to see the love upon her sweet face as she talked about her husband Bob and their son Colin and her first children’s book being published twenty years after it was first written! Last October, she and my husband James Woody, along with another of our mutual friends Christine Nash Distelhorst, were having lunch with Dreama when the three of us were first introduced to “Four Bears in a Box,” or at least its inception and some of the artwork she had just received on her cell phone. I remember how excited she was to share her news with us, and the three of us were thrilled to be let in on her newly revised children’s book ready for publication!
During that time, she shared with us the story about how it came to be. What a beautiful story it is! Those details are included on the very last page of the book under “The Story Behind the Story,” and they have been included in many of the other book reviews that have been shared. Personally, I really like the fact that the story of its inception is included in the book, along with the original pencil sketches by Dreama’s husband Bob, and how he envisioned the bears to look. Those bear sketches are the first things you will see as you open the book, and the last as you close it when you have finished reading it. Then, the illustrator Ashley Belote has included some sweet little references to Gilligan, as in “Gilligan’s Island,” in her artwork. All of these things make for such sweet additions to the book.
Basically, the storyline follows three little bears who have nothing to do, and they are quite bored, until a surprise from their mother is received after completing some chores. (Perhaps, some of you and the children in your lives may have experienced boredom over the last several months during our stay-at-home, stay safe, self-quarantine experiences.) Anyway, after helping their mother, she has a surprise for her three children waiting for them in the garage…their very best friend and a brown cardboard box that becomes whatever they wish it to be! ANYTHING! Let their creative imaginations begin!
A cardboard box is often loved by children; sometimes, they enjoy it more than what is found inside of the box. Just recently I was looking through some older photograph albums where I found my daughter at the age of two and a half playing in a box in the middle of our kitchen floor some thirty-five years ago. I had actually forgotten about them until I ran across the photos one evening. I only share that because a cardboard box is timeless!
Secondly, I love the book itself. I started thinking about it. The hard book format, its beautiful colors, its smooth texture, and its size are great for little hands to help hold while you sit and read to them. It is roughly eight and a half inches by eleven inches in size. There is no book jacket to easily be torn, and it has a matte finish that is just beautiful to the touch.
Not long ago, I had the pleasure of holding my nine month old granddaughter and reading this book to her. She sat in my lap while I read, sitting so still and being so quite the entire time I read to her. She would take her little hands and place them on the pages or on the edge of the book itself while I turned the pages as I read. Just melted my heart. ❤️❤️❤️🤗
Thirdly, as a former teacher, I thought about how this wonderful book could be used in the classroom when teaching students various styles of writing as well as various elements of writing. I was always looking for wonderful books to expose my students to in my classroom. I would share with my students multiple examples of writing in published pieces. This book would definitely be a book I would read to my middle school students if I were still teaching.
If you are a parent or a grandparent, I highly recommend this book. Your children and grandchildren will love it, and without a doubt, you will enjoy reading it to them.
If you are a teacher, I would definitely recommend you having this book in your classroom. Children will love it!
Last, but not least, school librarians, put it on your list to purchase for your school’s library! You will not regret it.
The book “Four Bears in a Box” can be purchased through various venues, but if you would like to have it personalized and autographed, contact Dreama at BobDenver.com
Lastly, “Four Bears in a Box” was awarded the “Mom’s Choice Awards.” It’s already an award winning book. I would not be surprised if more awards are on their way for this book.
As a person who absolutely loves to read, who loves to own the books I have read and enjoyed, and who loves to build my home library, I absolutely LOVE this book! It’s a welcomed addition to my personal library!
Perhaps, the greatest compliment I am able to give “Four Bears in a Box” is to say it is Caldecott Medal worry in my opinion! Would that not be wonderful!!! ❤️❤️❤️